Best Freshwater Fishing Rods of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

By Richard | Fishing Rod Reviews

best freshwater fishing rods
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For us to find the best freshwater fishing rods, we need to do a lot of research on various models available in the market today.

We all know that it will be near impossible to do that because of the time, effort, and money that you need to invest in that kind of plan.

Don’t fret because we are here to help you find the right freshwater fishing rod then match it with the ideal bait for more exciting freshwater fishing adventures.

We will look at five fishing rod options and check each one to see if one of these fishing rods meet your preferences.

Comparison Chart

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Sougayilang Fishing Rod Combos

Berkley Cherrywood HD Spinning

Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods

Best Freshwater Fishing Rods

1. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

This spinning rod is one of the ideal fishing rods available in most of the fishing supply stores today.

Most anglers have found that this fishing rod is sturdy, making it a good option for catching fishes of any size.

Product Highlights

This fishing rod has a lot to offer, including:

  • Compatibility

It is not easy to find a fishing rod that can adapt to everyone’s preferred fishing style, but the Elite spinning rod is ideal for all types of fishing techniques.

You can use this multipurpose fishing rod in either freshwater or saltwater and catch various types of fish using live or plastic baits for all your fishing adventures.

  • Durability

The durability of the Elite Spinning Rod is what makes it a valuable piece of fishing equipment for anglers looking for a fishing rod that will not break in all kinds of fishing pressures.

The strength of this fishing rod is well-balanced with its lightness making it easy for the fisher to bring it to any fishing trips.

  • Design

This easy-to-use, flexible fishing rod is the finished product of the combined graphite and fiberglass materials used in its construction.

It also uses an Ugly Stik trademark of a fiberglass clear tip that offers heightened sensitivity, which you can partner with any type of fishing line.

The Elite spinning rod has easy-to-grip handles that will give you comfort and reliability during those long hours of fishing.

The Good

We love the versatility of the Elite Spinning Rod, as it makes it a perfect fishing gear for all skill levels, whether you are a newbie or a professional one.

We also love that the blank seat spinning reel has a cushioned stainless steel hood to keep it secured and steady in its position.

The Bad

Although the fishing rod is quite durable, the tip eye isn't, especially if you prefer to use the braided line.

It will create rough indentations that will damage other lines.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy
  • Reliable

CONS

  • Low-quality guides
  • Inferior tip

2. Sougaliyang Fishing Rod Combos

Fishing is best practiced by using the best fishing gear and equipment that you can find, making sure that it is sensitive and durable.

If you have plans of buying a fishing rod that meets your budget, it is better to check on a full fishing reel and rod combo kit.

This fishing rod combo kit is perfect for bringing along in all your travel so that you can enjoy fishing adventures anytime.

Product Highlights

Here are the things you'd expect from this kit:

  • Inclusions

This full fishing combo kit comes in a nylon carrying bag containing several items such as the telescopic fishing rod made of carbon fiber, fishing reel, three pieces of fishing lures, 110 yards of fishing line, a spare spool, and 12 pieces of fishing accessories.

  • Telescopic Fishing Rod

The hard and durable fishing rod is made of solid carbon fiber combined with fiberglass materials.

  • Ceramic Guide Ring

The excellent quality colorful guide rings are made with beautiful, anti-corrosion piano porcelain solid material.

  • Fishing Reel

There are 13+1 smooth ball bearings in the fishing reel that are corrosion resistant with powerful and perfectly matched gears resulting in an ultrasmooth performance. 

It also has an aluminum handle that you can convert for left- or right-hand use.

  • CNC Aluminum Spool

The CNC aluminum spool uses a computer balancing system and has a concave frame design that provides lightness and high-performance capabilities for long fishing hours.

  • Warranty

This combo kit comes with a one-year worry-free service warranty by coordinating with their customer service team.

The Good

This combo offers the complete applications for your fishing needs that can quickly adapt to whatever situation you are in, making it a good purchase.

Since this combo kit is designed to work together as one unit, it offers useful fishing gear and equipment resulting in a reliable fishing performance.

It is also great that the lightweight yet sturdy fishing rod is made for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, providing the versatility you need for a more enjoyable fishing experience.

The Bad

The fishing rod looks good, but the area with screws gets rusted quickly, weakening the rod, which will then lead to breakage through constant use.

Some customers have also experienced difficulty when it comes to the assembly of the fishing reel.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Organized
  • Expandable
  • Complete set
  • Easy to carry

CONS

  • Loose eyelets
  • Breaks after multiple uses

3. Berkley Cherrywood HD Spinning Rod

This spinning rod has a lightweight design that will give anglers excellent and reliable fishing performance.

It is an upgraded version of the same Berkley product for more than three decades now and has a new formulation to make it more appropriate to today’s needs.

Product Highlights

This spinning rod offers the following:

  • Design

The spinning rod is specially designed for freshwater fishing and made of composite graphite materials for maximum strength and sensitivity to ensure that you can sense even the smallest bite.

The dependable guides use SS304 stainless steel as their primary material to give them the lightness and strength they need while battling with your catch.

Additionally, the cork handle design allows you to have an improved and comfortable grip even during long fishing hours.

  • Warranty

This spinning rod from Berkley comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

The Good

This spinning rod comes in different sizes, so you have a lot of options to choose from depending on your preference.

It is also one of the most affordable fishing rods available in the market today with a high level of sensitivity to ensure that you don’t miss a catch.

The Bad

The fishing rod presents the right action and power, but it quickly breaks without so much pressure applied.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Sensitive
  • Casts well
  • Lightweight
  • Sensitive

CONS

  • Loose insert
  • Poor customer service

4. Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod

The Berkley brand has been around for more than three decades when it comes to providing high-performing fishing gear and equipment, and the Cherrywood HD Casting Rod is no different.

The rod has the strength, balance, and sensitivity that a good casting rod should possess for it to be effective.

Product Highlights

Some of the key features of this fishing rod are:

  • Built

This Cherrywood HD Casting Rod is a freshwater fishing rod made of a graphite material, which makes it durable and receptive.

It is fitted with a cork handle to give it more comfortable stability during long fishing hours.

The reel seat is also made of graphite material combined with cushioned hoods made from black nickel stainless steel.

On the other hand, the guides are made of chromium, which makes it more durable and lightweight as compared to the standard material used for guides.

  • Warranty

A limited lifetime warranty protects this casting rod.

The Good

We love that the fishing rod is available in a variety of models and sizes, depending on the user’s fishing preferences.

It is also great that the guides are well-constructed, which adds to the overall good looks of the product.

The Bad

Some anglers have observed that the tip of the casting rod is a bit heavy and would be the first to snap after several uses.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Performs well
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Heavy tip
  • Short rear grip

5. KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod

One of the best fishing rods today is the KastKing Crixus, not only with its overall look but with how good it performs, as well.

These fishing rods, both spinning and casting, are available in various lengths and actions that will match your personal preferences.

Product Highlights

This fishing rod has a lot of great features, including:

  • Rod Blanks

The solid graphite blanks on the KastKing fishing rods offer strength and sensitivity, which helps in the success of catching various kinds of freshwater fish species.

  • Guides

The fishing rod guides are vital when it comes to controlling the fishing line, the casting precision, and its distance.

The KastKing fishing rods have traditional and durable stainless steel guide frames combined with zirconium oxide rings that can handle all kinds of fishing lines.

  • Handle

These fishing rods have a durable and non-slip SuperPolymer golf-style handle for a secure and comfortable grip.

This type of handle does not only look functional and stylish but is also sturdy and reliable, especially during poor weather conditions.

The Good

One of the best things about this product is that you can choose from 20 different KastKing Crixus models with varying lengths, power, and actions that are capable of catching various fish species.

It also has a comfortable grip even on varying weather conditions, allowing you to enjoy every fishing experience.

Another is that the sensitivity of the fishing rod is exceptional, so you can sense the smallest of bites while fishing.

The Bad

Some anglers have noticed that their fishing rods make a distinct cracking noise the first time they threw a cast.

PROS

  • Sturdy
  • Casts well
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Loose top guide
  • Brittle top part

Buyer’s Guide

Fishing is not that easy, especially for those who are just starting to learn and enjoy fishing activities.

One thing that an aspiring angler needs to do is to have the right fishing rod to make sure they catch their target.

To get the best fishing rod, though, you need to look into several factors, such as:

1. Handle

The handle is at the lower part of a fishing rod, which lets you hold and control it as you cast the fishing line or reel in your catch.

Most of the best fishing rods around are the ones with either a cork or an EVA foam handles that ensure comfort and stable grip.

2. Reel Seat

The reel seat is where you fit the reel by moving its foot smoothly and quickly into the collars to ensure you mount it correctly without any wobbling.

Properly securing the reel into the reel seat is one way of ensuring that your fishing gear is stable before you start fishing.

3. Length

The length of the handle may also differ and will help determine how far you can cast your line.

  • Long Rods, Long Casts

Fishing rods with longer handles are mostly used for catching bigger fish and for longer casting by holding it with both hands.

However, if you decide to use long rods, you need to have enough room to cast farther and longer.

You will also need to have a lot of practice when using long rods, as it is not easy to cast the line at the right moment.

  • Short Rods, Short Casts

Short handles are suitable for beginners and those who intend to make short casts using only one hand.

Sometimes, professional anglers opt to use fishing rods with a pistol grip or split grip handles to maintain the low weight of the rod for shorter casts, which are typically used for bass fishing.

4. Material

The materials used for your fishing rods have a significant effect on its performance and effectiveness.

Some of the most commonly used ones are:

  • Fiberglass

Fishing rods made from fiberglass were trendy five decades ago though you can still find fiberglass fishing rods today.

They do not have the durability that you will find in fishing rods made from modern materials but are sturdier when compared to other materials like carbon fiber and graphite, which are brittle.

Fishing rods also have a thicker spine, which is only suitable for the medium-heavy types of fishing rods.

They are also perfect for trolling or fishing spoons since it can transmit small movements better than other rod materials.

  • Graphite

There is a confusing technical difference between graphite and carbon fiber; hence, graphite is also considered as carbon fiber but not the other way around.

Graphite is an older type of material that is roughly made and also known to be stiff, breaks easily, and is low in quality.

Suitable graphite fibers can be obtained by burning bamboo; thus, graphite rods are lightweight and excellent sensitivity.

With the proper care and maintenance, though, fishing rods made of graphite are sturdy and can last a long time.

  • Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is considered an upgraded version of graphite, which means that it is better in every aspect.

Carbon fiber fishing rods are lighter in weight as compared to a graphite rod of the same size.

Besides, they are also more sensitive and flexible than the other fishing rods made of different materials.

However, whatever weakness a graphite fishing rod has, then it is more intense with a carbon fiber one.

Carbon fiber is a brittle material more so when the weather is cold, making it susceptible to breakage, especially when dropped.

  • Multi-Material Composites

If you have noticed, all the materials we mentioned have both their strengths and weaknesses.

It is from these characteristics from each material type that the multi-material composites came about.

Most of the best fishing rods in the market are constructed using the combination of these materials, making use of the strengths of each one.

5. Power

Power or also known as weight defines the strength of the fishing rod before it starts giving in to a particular gravity by bending and flexing.

The power is classified as follows: heavy (H), medium-heavy (MH), medium (M), medium-light (ML), light (L), and ultra-light (UL).

The agreement between higher and lower power depends on its strength and sensitivity, which means that the type and size of the fish you intend to catch should determine the power classification of your fishing rod.

Some professional anglers prefer the lightest power that they are comfortable with, as it offers more sensitivity when trying to catch their targets.

6. Action

The action rating of fishing rods depends on its flexibility when there’s a fish on the line that is trying to battle it out with the angler.

Fishing rods are commonly rated from slow to fast with medium and medium-fast actions in between.

Faster action fishing rods are more flexible near the tip, whereas the slower action fishing rods show its flexibility on its entire length.

Technically, slower action rods are suitable for catching bigger fish, while faster action rods are best for smaller fish species.

Fast action rods are also appropriate in managing heavy tackles and lures as well as for longer line casting.

Medium action rods are the perfect option for almost all types of freshwater fishing activities.

Fishing Rod FAQs

1. How Do I Choose a Rod Length?

We all know that fishing rods come in different lengths, which range from as short as four feet to as long as 15 feet.

The length of a fishing rod is one vital aspect to consider when buying one because of several factors.

If you need to cast far and long, you need to use longer fishing rods to achieve a higher casting power.

However, you may have an issue in having your lure land in your intended spot due to the long fishing line that you need to cast.

Hence, shorter rods are more accurate when it comes to targeting a specific spot though you don’t have the option to make a more extended cast.

2. How Many Bass Rods Do You Need?

Most professional anglers have a full arsenal of different fishing rods for various purposes, but they never leave the ones that they can use in most situations.

Most of the time, they dedicate at least three to five fishing rods for the sole purpose of bass fishing, namely, medium-light spinning rod, medium-heavy spinning rod, medium baitcaster, medium-heavy baitcaster, and heavy baitcaster.

3. How Much Does a Good Fishing Rod Cost?

In reality, fishing is an expensive sport though there are a lot of affordable alternatives available in the market for all skill levels.

It is highly advisable, though, that beginners should start from budget-friendly fishing gear and equipment first since other expenses need to be met aside from fishing rods.

You will find some affordable yet useful and long-lasting fishing rods at a price range below $50.

That said, good quality professional fishing rods can cost as much as $400, but you can also buy a quality rod and reel combo for as low as $150.

4. Which Is More Important? The Rod or Reel?

This question is a tricky one that will get different answers from various anglers, whether professional or newbies.

Despite the mixed answers, if you think things through, you can see that it is better to invest in a good fishing rod first before buying the other things that you need to complete your set up.

5. Do Graphite Rods Break Easily? 

Graphite rods are considered more robust than fishing rods made from composite or fiberglass materials.

These fishing rod types offer an excellent sensitivity for a more enjoyable fishing experience if you know how to care and maintain them.

If you don’t have the right knowledge on how to use and care for your graphite fishing rods, it can easily snap and break anytime.

Final Verdict

From the five best freshwater fishing rods we reviewed, you should have an idea of how and what you need to look for in a good fishing rod.

There's a list of essential factors that you need to consider and match with your current needs or preferences to trim down your fishing rod options.

So, before you buy your fishing rod, make sure that it has most, if not all, the things that you are looking for.

That said, if you can't decide now, we highly recommend the Berkley Cherrywood HD Spinning Rod since it can work on both bodies of saltwater and freshwater.

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